How Do Garbage Disposal Machines Work?

Garbage disposal machines are a very handy appliance to have in any modern day kitchen. For anyone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen and who likes to cook, this tool helps make clean-ups quicker and easier. As long as you don’t get your hand stuck down in it, it is a benefit but does require some maintenance and upkeep. Cleaning out any clogs is never any fun and every once in awhile your disposal tries to eat something that does not agree with it.

They are a pretty standard fixture in today’s homes but how do garbage disposal machines work? Is there anything you shouldn’t put down them? Let’s take a look at some basics of garbage machine mechanics.

How Garbage Disposals Work

Garbage disposals machines involve both plumbing and electricity. If you are unfamiliar with working with either of these, you should hire an expert to install a garbage disposal. Here is how they work. The garbage disposal machine is attached underneath your sink at the bottom of the drain. It has a shredder and a series of grinders similar to a food processor which are all inside of a round housing. This housing has a drain so that all water and debris can continue down to the septic pipes. When you are cleaning up dirty dishes, you can push food down the drain and turn on the cold water to wash it down into the housing.


While the water is running, you turn on the garbage disposal. The shredder and blades start spinning inside which chops and grinds up food debris. The purpose is to chop up food particles small enough so that it will pass through a septic system without clogging up the pipes. As the debris gets chopped up, an impellar arm and plate force the water and debris down the drain.

There are several brands of garbage disposals that you can buy and some are larger and can process more food than others. If you are shopping for a garbage disposal unit, there are two types which you can get. The first kind is the type activated by a switch. This is the most common type that you run water through as it spins and chops. The other kind of garbage disposal is the batch-feed type which is activated by turning a stopper after loading the disposal with garbage.

Garbage Disposal Don’ts

There are a couple of garbage disposal dont’s. Like the things you should not put into a garbage disposal machine (besides your hand). For starters, you should never pour bleach, drain cleaners, or other chemicals down the drain into a disposal unit. You should also never overfill a disposal unit or else it could get clogged and stop spinning.

To take care of the unit’s blades, you shouldn’t put anything hard into the garbage disposal such as bones, fibrous materials, coffee grounds, glass, or anything metal. Basically, anything that is too hard to be ground up should not go down the drain.